Note to self: perhaps blue lights were not such a good idea . . . They are flashing ones so part of the tree goes dark whilst the others are lit up.
I am finally getting sorted here, although I don't feel in the least bit Christmassy really, and worse still, I am NOT in a baking mood. The only things I needed to make this week were some biccies for the good folk at the Unit and the recipes I wanted to make (fancy American ones) called for ingredients I didn't have (which is not normally the case here) and were so terribly fiddly to do, and many required delicate icing which I am not any good at. In the end I used a recipe from an old British cookbook with Christmas recipes, but having mixed it all, I read the next bit and it said "chill for 24 hours". I know, always read the recipe through to the end before starting. Sigh.
Anyway, I bunged it, like a dead arm, rolled in cling film and a teatowel to hold it together a bit more and when I couldn't sleep on Monday night, got up at 4.30 a.m. ish and went down to bake the biccies. Well, it was still very soft and only freezing it would have made it cuttable. I can't help thinking two eggs in a biscuit recipe wasn't right (so I shan't make THOSE again). I ended up having to take chunks, combine more flour and roll out and cut with cutters. I tasted one when cooked and it was . . . unremarkable. I couldn't really taste the orange zest which was in it. I made up some icing, too stiffly, and so after icing they were tasteless AND carp-looking, so I scraped the icing off (which had been made with the last of my raspberry jam, pips sieved out, so that at least tasted nice). I then melted some white cooking chocolate and bunged that on. NOT my finest hour, I can tell you . . . So I quickly threw together a bunch of Plum Muffins in case they decided to chuck the biccies . . . You can see why I don't feel like any more kitchen adventures. My brain is still addled since last week when I had one night when I only got 2 1/2 hours' sleep. I would have liked a good brisk walk to help matters but it has just been pouring and pouring and I got soaked to the skin just trying to get the blasted parking ticket in the John Street car park the other day - having decided to pay for parking for once, as we didn't want to get soaked walking up the town from the free parking at Tesco . . . (The machines had run out of tickets, so you put your money in, got no ticket and got no money back . . .)
We got the wreath made yesterday. Because of the rain I just went as far as the front gate with my secateurs to cut some willow for the base, and in the same outing, cut an armful of the long trailing bits of ivy which hang over the front wall. I got some sprigs of holly and some Hazel catkins the other day and I'd bought a wee box of silvery bells in The Range, so all done now and looking pretty although I need to move the middle bottom bell to the right).
We arrived home yesterday to a pretty basket of Hyacinths sent by my aged aunty in Romsey. 9 Hyacinths - they will smell wonderful when they flower.
In memory of my dear friend Annie - a rag rug wreath she made.
A bargain from Wilco's - a natural-looking swag reduced to £6. The little bell decoration in the centre came from The Range.
Lastly, my Christmas present from Middle Daughter G, early. Very timely too as the tyre on my ancient abandoned-by-the-builders-it-was-so-bad wheelbarrow perished right through this week, so will have to go to that Wheelbarrow Tip in the sky . . .